Welcome to Creative Bloq's guide to the best web hosting services in 2020. Whether you're a web designer or developer looking for the best web hosting deals, a graphic designer who wants to build their online presence, or an illustrator looking to launch a custom portfolio, you'll need a web hosting service.
There are plenty available on the market, allowing you to pick one that's capable, reliable, meets your needs and delivers competitive value for money. To give you a clear view of your options, we've reviewed the different services available right now and compiled them into a list of what we think are the best web hosting services in 2020.
Many of the choices here include integrated features to help you create your site, but if that's your focus take a look at our guide to the best website builders.
The best web hosting services 2020: At a glance
We've stripped away the jargon and condensed the complex spec sheets into easy-to-scan profiles, so you can navigate and compare the best web hosting services with ease.
No time to read? This is our ranking of the best web hosting services right now:
02. InMotion Hosting
Before we launch into our buying guide, you should know the three different categories on offer: shared web hosting (a good basic option if you're on a budget), VPS hosting (more flexible), and dedicated servers (for those running a bigger operation and in need of something more capable).
If you're not sure which is the best level for you, you’ll find a detailed explanation of the different tiers at the bottom of this guide. It's also worth bearing in mind that you need to pick something that's going to be able to grow and scale up with you.
- Also looking for the best internet plan? Check out our dedicated guides to the best broadband deals and fibre broadband deals
The best web hosting service right now is Bluehost. Based in Utah, Bluehost is the preferred partner for WordPress, the world's favourite website builder. This service does a great job of balancing price and features for less experienced businesses, while offering lots of options for more advanced users. Its shared hosting packages start with a very reasonable 'basic' plan, targeted at home users.
WordPress plans are naturally more expensive, but there are discounted introductory rates available. With those, you get automated setup for WordPress, as well as other popular apps via a Mojo Marketplace-powered system. Plus, there’s a cPanel-based area, so if you know what you’re doing, you can tweak things.
Bluehost also gives you a free domain for the first year, and provides a free Weebly-based website builder to create a site up to six pages, although website templates aren’t included. Previously, a weak spot was that none of Bluehost didn't offer SSL certificates as standard, but this is now included with all plans.
There's great customer support on offer too – you can chat online or over the phone 24/7. This makes for a powerful, feature-packed, user-friendly web hosting – with customisation options for the more demanding user.
Excellent performance, great features, and helpful tech support propel InMotion Hosting to second place in our roundup of the best web hosting services 2020. InMotion has been around since 2001, and is one of the world's largest independent web hosting companies. It offers several shared hosting plans, with prices starting at a very attractive monthly cost.
To sweeten the deal, all of InMotion's plans come with a ton of great free features that other services might charge extra for – think malware and DDoS protection, basic backups, 'spam-safe' email and a WordPress-based website builder (if you're looking at WordPress options specifically, take a look at our dedicated guide to the best WordPress hosting services).
InMotion offers both cPanel and Softaculous-powered hosting. In testing, InMotion’s overall performance levels ranked well above average. That’s great news for anyone who wants to see fast-loading websites (which is all of us, let's face it).
Technical features include PHP, Ruby, Perl, Python and PHP 7 support. InMotion provides both MySQL and PostgreSQL databases, and easy-to-use integration with Google Apps. There's also excellent technical support available 24/7, all year round, for US-based users.
Overall, there's a lot to like here – and competitive pricing too. If you're not satisfied, there's a 90-day money-back guarantee on all Business, VPS and Reseller hosting plans from 6 months+, which knocks the 45-day industry standard out of the park.
When it comes to cheap web hosting, HostGator’s Hatchling plan is our top choice. The well-known Dallas-based company offers an impressive amount of unrestricted features in its most basic Hatchling plan: there are no limits on bandwidth, web space, subdomains, MySQL databases, FTP or email accounts.
There's also one-click WordPress installation, cPanel-based site management and a 99.9% 'uptime' guarantee covering both server and network failures; plus 24/7 customer support, and $200 of Google and Bing Ads credits.
As you might expect with a cheap hosting plan, you can only operate one website on the Hatchling plan. And you won’t get a free domain name for a year, either. But we like the super-low pricing and the free transfers for new accounts within the first month after you’ve signed up. A 45-day money-back guarantee means that if you’re not happy with the service, you can cancel it.
Hostinger boasts over 29 million users, thanks to its highly competitive web hosting plans offered via the company's 000webhosting brand. This service is particularly well suited to business users, and thanks to its size is very wallet-friendly too (especially if you opt for a longer plan).
In order to keep control over performance and features, Hostinger uses its own technology, including a customised control panel rather than the usual cPanel. Hostinger's offerings are also impressively feature-rich.
The most basic Single plan is very cheap, but bear in mind you'll be getting limited features – there's no SSL certificate or domain name included. Bump up to the most expensive (but still very reasonable) Business plan and you're looking at unlimited websites, bandwidth, MySQL databases, daily backups and more.
US-based GoDaddy is one of the largest web hosting companies around. As one of the few that’s done television advertising, it’s probably the best known, too. Even its cheapest web hosting package comes with 100GB storage, unmetered bandwidth, and a free domain – with plenty of options due to GoDaddy's vast domain name repository. GoDaddy also boasts a guaranteed 99.9% uptime, free backup and restore, and expert hosting support available 24/7, all year round.
One feature we particularly like is that on every package you can increase hosting capacity on demand directly from your account – handy if you experience an unexpected surge in traffic.
UK-based tsoHost offers flexible plans at very reasonable prices. You can choose from WordPress hosting, cPanel hosting or cloud web hosting. The cheapest 'Startup' plan is a bargain, and although it only offers 500MB storage, you also get access to unlimited bandwidth, Let’s Encrypt SSL and 10 mailboxes.
A slight downside here is the lack of 24-7 support, now offered as standard by most of its competitors. However, live chat and phone help are offered between the hours of 7am and midnight. Performance levels are solid, and there's a 30-day money-back guarantee if you're not happy with the service.
One of the best known web hosting services, Wix really shines when it comes to customisation options. There's a huge number of options to choose from, so you can fine-tune your site to meet your exact preferences. You're particularly spoilt for choice when it comes to templates: there are over 500 to choose from.
If you're creating an ecommerce site there's good news here: Wix offers plenty of ecommerce-specific templates, and it won't levy transaction fees on your sales, either. The site editor is also nice and easy to use, and comes with lots of powerful features, including an integrated image editor.
Wix offers a range of plans, starting with a free option. With this you get limited bandwidth, storage capped at 500MB, and Wix branding on your site. The next level up is the popular Unlimited plan, which gives 10GB of storage, unlimited bandwidth, and $75 worth of Google Ad vouchers.
A big down-side here is in customer support. There's a hard-to-find callback request option and the ability to raise a ticket, but no instant chat at all. This might be on the cards though – at time of writing Chat Support was a feature request you could vote for.
If you're on a budget and looking for the best free web hosting service, we'd recommend Weebly. The free option comes with free SSL security and 500MB storage, plus SEO and lead capture and contact forms. As you'd expect, there are limitations that come with choosing a free option: you'll have a Weebly-branded URL and ads on your site. If you want to remove these, you'll need to bump up to a paid plan. Users can also benefit from Weebly’s range of stylish website templates.
How to choose the right web hosting service
Selecting the right web hosting service depends upon a number of factors, including your resource needs, performance demands, security requirements, cost constraints, server administration preferences and scalability expectations.
So first, identify your needs. Do you have low, heavy or highly variable traffic? Do you need to minimise downtime or guarantee high availability? Do you want control over your server and its performance?
If you’re not bothered about any of those issues, you’ll probably be fine with shared hosting. If you answered yes to any of those questions, you might be better suited to VPS of dedicated hosting.
Shared web hosting
Shared web hosting means that your website will sit on the same server as many other sites. It’s the simplest type of hosting on the market, and it’s the cheapest too – it can cost as little as $1/£1 per month – because it comes with limited bandwidth, administration and performance capabilities.
Think of it like a family data plan: responsibility is shared equally among users, and your monthly data needs don’t exceed the amount allotted in the plan.
If your needs are pretty basic, shared web hosting is a great option. It's good for small websites and novices who don’t want the flexibility and customisation options of VPS or dedicated hosting.
VPS hosting is a more premium option than shared hosting, giving you greater customisation options and increased performance. It costs more, but you get more bandwidth and private disk space, better performance, more safety features, and have full control when it comes to increasing or decreasing your data setup.
That's important if you’re anticipating that your website or creative business is going to grow. VPS hosting will enable you to deliver a user experience that goes beyond the basic shared hosting level.
A dedicated server is best suited to anyone looking to build complex websites that need to look after hundreds of users in a no-compromise environment. (Think Amazon.) It’s like having your own computer: you don’t have to share your space, power or resources with anyone else. Dedicated servers are usually the fastest and most powerful choices available, though some of the high-end VPS options can give the lower performing dedicated servers a run for their money – so check the specs.
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